By Emmie V. Abadilla
The government’s initiative to fast-track the development of Sangley airport, along with its plan to turn the air force base into a new facility complementing the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) in Manila, is a win-win proposition, Cebu Pacific (CEB) declared in a statement issued Friday.
The airline is supporting the move by putting up its cargo operations there.
“The transfer of General Aviation — or private aircraft operations to Sangley — is a quick win and will yield immediate positive results for NAIA,” confirmed Michael Ivan Shau, CEB Chief Operations Officer. “As an initial step, we have committed to establish our turboprop cargo operations at Sangley.”
Cebu Pacific is in the final phase of converting two of its ATR 72-500 passenger aircraft into full freighter planes — the only commercial passenger airline in the Philippines to have specialized aircraft to transport cargo. The first of the two freighter aircraft is expected to enter into service before August 2019.
Turbo-prop aircraft — such as the ATR fleet operated by Cebu Pacific subsidiary Cebgo, are typically used in airports with runways less than 1.2 kilometers long — which is too short for jet aircraft. Only about one-third of the 90 airports in the Philippines can land jets.
Cebu Pacific flies to 37 domestic destinations, including routes where jet operations are not possible such as Marinduque, Batanes, Busuanga, Camiguin and Siargao.
Cebu Air Inc., operating as Cebu Pacific, is the largest carrier in the local air transportation industry, offering its low-cost services to more destinations and routes with higher flight frequency within the Philippines than any other airline.
Together with subsidiary Cebgo, CEB flies to 37 domestic and 26 international destinations with over 107 routes spanning Asia, Australia, the Middle East, and USA.
The Cebu Pacific fleet is comprised of two Airbus A321NEOs, seven A321CEOs, one A320NEO, 33 A320s, eight A330s, eight ATR 72-500 and 13 ATR 72-600s.
The ATR aircraft are used by Cebgo for inter-island flights where jet operations are not possible. CEB boasts of one of the youngest fleets in the world, with an average fleet age of five years.